Tips to Land Your First Job

Congratulations on looking for your first job!

As a teenager, looking for your first part time job can seem like a daunting task. Here are some pointers to get you started:


  1. Look for an Internship
    Job seekers looking for their first job must contend with a lack of experience. Internships are a great way to build some experience in the professional world. Some internships are paid, and often employers will extend a permanent offer to a high performing intern.

  2. Do a Skills Assessment
    If you have never worked before, building a resume can be difficult. It’s important to identify the skills you already have. Working with a career advisor would be a great place to start. A new job seeker may not know what job they want, but they should have an understanding of what types of jobs they might be interested in; this will help narrow the scope of your job search.

  3. Create a Simple Resume
    Having a resume to give to a prospective employer shows you've put some effort into finding a job and it allows you to showcase things about yourself that you want the employer to remember. Even if you have no work experience, you can still give the employer an idea of what your strengths are.

  4. Appearance and Posture Matter
    Make sure when you head out the door that you are well groomed and well dressed. You don't necessarily need to be in a suit, but you do need to be presentable. Keep your head up, maintain eye contact, have a firm handshake and be confident. When speaking with a potential employer, speak clearly and demonstrate that you are eager to get the job.

  5. Get a List of Places to Apply
    Use sites like to find part time jobs in your area, pick up a local newspaper, go to the library to look at help wanted listings or walk through your city or town looking for ‘Help Wanted’ signs.

  6. Prepare for "No"
    Before you go apply anywhere, you need to prepare yourself for rejection. As a first time job seeker, you need to mentally prepare for someone to say, "No."

  7. Follow Up
    Employers look for candidates who have the ability to follow up because it shows a willingness to get involved and be responsible. Always follow up or get in touch with the potential employer.

  8. Keep a Reference List
    Be prepared to provide references from teachers, coaches, clergy, parents whose children you babysat, people whose lawns you mowed, etc. Ask them in advance if they are willing to be a reference for you. Then, each time that you provide their name and contact information to a potential employer, inform the reference. Let them know which company may be contacting them and which position you applied for.

  9. Pure Michigan Talent Connect Profile
    Be sure to include in your profile an attached resume with your skills, honors, achievements, volunteer work, etc. Be flexible with duties, hours and pay. Everyone has to start somewhere and you might not get your ideal job the first time.
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